Comprehensive Exam Process
The department adopts the following guidelines for comprehensive exams in the subfields of Theory, American, Comparative, International Relations, and Methodology.
- The Exam Period for all subfields is one to three days, with continuous blocks not to exceed 8 hours each.
- Each year the department chair will appoint one person in each subfield to coordinate exams in that field, on a rotating basis.
- All subfields will have readings lists, for which students are held responsible.
- Reading lists in Comparative, and in part Theory, will be negotiated between student and faculty; in other fields they will be provided by the faculty. Students wishing to exercise the option to take a comprehensive exam in Methodology can only do so by petition and in consultation with methods faculty. Students have a choice in selecting two of the four subfields of methodology: interpretive, case study, formal theory, and statistics. At least one of the two subfields must be in formal theory or statistics. (Students may choose to do both formal theory and statistics, but they cannot choose to do both interpretive and case study.) If approved, students will take the exam at the same time as the other exam offerings: the week before the beginning of Autumn Quarter and tenth week of Spring Quarter. The department will administer the exam over a two day period with each subfield in methods offering an 8 hour exam.
- Reading lists will be revised at least every three years, with student input.
- Exams will be offered twice a year: during the 10th week of Spring Quarter and the week before the beginning of Autumn Quarter classes. The exception is Comparative, the time of which students will negotiate with their readers.
- The deadline for completing comprehensive exam requirements is the 9th quarter (typically Spring Quarter of the third year).
- Subfields will retain autonomy over all aspects of the exam process not specifically addressed above.
The rules for each specific sub-field can be found here:
- American Politics Exam Process;
- Comparative Politics Exam Process;
- International Relations Exam Process;
- Methodology Exam Process;
- Political Theory Exam Process.